On Being an African American Plastic Surgeon in Nashville

Published on May 11, 2020 by

As an African-American female plastic surgeon in Nashville, I am rare. In fact, less than 1 percent of plastic surgeons in the country are African-American females, while plastic surgery patients are, in a fairly large proportion, this exact demographic: African American females.

In fact, American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics from 2017 reported that roughly 10 percent of plastic surgery patients were African American females. A large proportion of my patient population in Nashville, in particular, is African American females. At least once or twice a day, one of my patients divulges to me that one of the main reasons they sought me out—aside from my track record, great reviews, and before-and-after pictures—is that I am black.

There is a connection there that goes beyond the surface. They know that I will understand and take into account their body shape, proportions, curves, desires, scarring (African Americans have a higher incidence of keloid scars, for example), and other factors that intimately make them who they are. The connection is similar to the one I have as a mother when working with other mothers who seek plastic surgery. There is just an instant commonality and deeper connection.

I believe there are certain nuances and differences when it comes to being a black plastic surgeon. For example, the most popular cosmetic surgeries among black patients are BBL (Brazilian butt lift), rhinoplasty, liposuction, and abdominoplasty—better known as a tummy tuck. With African American rhinoplasty, it is so important to not change the patient’s nose to the point where they lose their ethnic identity. Black women and men who seek rhinoplasty desire certain things, such as a more defined tip and less flattening at the nasal dorsum or bridge of the nose, BUT they also want to keep their ethnicity.

Plastic surgery principles are variable, and they should be applied with caution and in different ways depending on someone’s ethnicity, facial structure, and body type. For body contouring surgeries, it is so important to keep in mind that at the end of the day, most patients, including African American patients, typically desire to simply be more enhanced versions of themselves.

I find that some black patients—women in particular—feel uncomfortable talking about plastic surgery. Being an African American plastic surgeon, I have had patients tell me they find comfort in being able to discuss this topic with me, because seeing me as a plastic surgeon tells them hey, plastic surgery doesn’t have a racial boundary or limit. It really is for everyone.

The reality is that there are not many people in my specialty who look like me. I was the first African American plastic surgery resident in my training program. This did not deter me from the field, nor make me hesitant to enter the industry as an African American woman.

In fact, it did the very opposite.

I knew there was a need for patients who look like me to make a connection, to build trust, and to see themselves in me. One of the reasons I chose to practice in Nashville was because it is underserved in terms of African American plastic surgeons. I have met many black female patients who live in or around Nashville who had assumed they would have to travel to Miami or Atlanta to have this resource: an African American plastic surgeon. In fact, one patient came to clinic for a consult for a tummy tuck and told me that she was so excited, and that she had to come and make sure I was real.

Well, I am very much real, and I am an African American female plastic surgeon right here in Nashville, TN.

Contact me at Maxwell Aesthetics by calling 615-932-7700 or by sending a message online.

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